Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, December 31, 2007

And Out with a Whimper

5.5 miles out to Cobbs Creek and back via Warrington on this loop to close the books on 2007. 46:35.

First Monday in a while I ran instead of rested.

This gives me an even 2200 miles for 07 (had 3300 in 06).

Happy New Year and, as KJ says, on to '08.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year End Wrapup

Grey morning. Took me a bit longer than usual to get out the door. Took it out to Falls Bridge, which meant taking old familiar routes to the Art Museum and then doing the Drives. Usually I look for something different, today I wanted familiar. I've been running this route as a long run ever since training for my first marathon back in '97.

When I got to the Drives I started paying attention to pace. My reach time was to do the 4 Kelly miles in under 30 minutes, but when the first mile came in in just under 8 minutes I wasn't very encouraged. Nonetheless the pace progressively quickened to where I got around 7 minute pace and managed to get up to the bridge in 29:30. Then I just kept this pace for the MLK four and managed a 27:42. Didn't think I had either of those times in me yet. The 3.5 or so miles back home were more a slog than a recovery, just running long on tired legs. All in all, 14.5 miles in about 1:56. This is encouraging.

I resolved to write up my 10 most memorable running moments of '07 today. I'm not going to rank them, nor are they necessarily going to all be high moments, but they will give you a good flavor of my year. In chronological order:

1) Jan. 30 - I just started training, in conjunction with a coach I just enlisted, for a sub 16 minute 5k. This day was an early track workout that I nailed and left me sitting on top of the world with all expectations that '07 would continue where '06 had left off.

2) March 31 - Adrenaline 5k. This was my shot at a sub 16 time. The race got postponed for two weeks due to a snowstorm, and when all was said and done I ran a 16:13. This is a PR time, and got me paid for being top Masters runner, and, except for the disappointment of not making my goal, was a fine time. Little did I know it would probably be my best racing performance of the year.

3) April 22 - Clean Air "5k". Ran this for one more shot at sub 16, and finished 3rd overall in a time of 15:52. I took in the glory of being a sub-16 runner for about a day and a half until it became apparent that the course was short. So it becomes my PR 4.9k time. I still feel the disappointment as I write this.

4) April 30 - Lehigh Valley Half Marathon. A nice weekend up in Allentown with Rebecca where I learn that prepping for a 5k does not get you in great shape for running 13.1 miles. Despite a disappointing time I still finish as top master runner, but feel adrift in terms of where my running is going. Any momentum I had from 2006 is definitely gone by now.

5) May 12 - I go back to self-coaching and getting back to basics - putting in miles. To mark this decision I run out to one of the most solid things I know, the Lansdowne Sycamore.

6) May 17 - One of my many runs through Tinicum Wildlife refuge. I could have picked any one of numerous mornings this year where I ran through Tinicum and was nearly overcome with its beauty. May was my favorite month for running here, as the flowers and wildlife are at their most active.

7) July 7 - Guerilla 5k. Third annual event organized by Ian. Third straight time I got half of first place. Friends coming together, running, and then celebrating the running and the friendship afterwards. Simultaneously everything that running should be and that running shouldn't be. Post-guerilla party was at Jim's, who moved out to the 'burbs. Looking through my blog entries I've come across numerous memorable runs with Ian, but alas he is also gone now, to NYC.

8) July 21 - Sunday morning run, seven and a half or so, through the deserted streets of Berkeley and Oakland. Took a trip out to Cali with my kids and met up with KJ, who's living out there after first getting his PhD and then going AWOL from Club West Philly. Another erstwhile running buddy who I'll miss.

9) September 25 - turned my ankle on an early morning run in Columbus. My training had been very lackluster for a variety of reasons up until now, such that I had already postponed my fall marathon from Twin Cities to Philadelphia. Now a fall marathon was out of the question. The ankle would get better only to have me reinjure it on Oct. 17.

10) October 7 - Delaware Distance Classic. I was on crutches cheering everyone on from the sidelines. It was this race in 2006 where Reba and I first met. We tailgated with champagne.

11) December 30 - okay, so I gave myself eleven memorable moments. You can see the details of today's run earlier in this post. I ran farther and faster than I have in a while. This gives me hope for 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What I Did Over Christmas Vacation

Back from Denver. Actually I've been back for awhile now, but am just now getting around to catching up.

Where to start. I'll give a quick recap of my runs over the past 8 days. I ran for the first two days I was in Denver, then went hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains for the next two days, blew Wednesday off (the day of the return trip home) and have been running well for the last three days.

Here is a more detailed recap:

Saturday (a week ago): ran in Denver from Reba's brother's house. There was a fresh snowfall (1-2 inches) on the ground and I went at it slow. Despite snow and ice on the ground, my footing felt surprisingly sure and I felt really good about the run. 7 miles in a loop around City Park (including some uncharted running through the park) in 63:50.

Sunday: ran in Lakewood, outside of Denver, along Kipling Road and then went exploring. The main point of running here was that it was snow free. Ran with Reba and her bro and sister-in-law. Another 7, this time in 58:53 along this route.

Monday: hiked along the Apex trail in the foothills outside of Denver. Of course foothills in Colorado are bigger than mountains around here. The hike was long, went up and down and through snow, and provided a good test of how my ankle's proprioception was getting along. The verdict: very well. Mark, Reba's bro-in-law, suggested I take ski poles to take some of the jolt off of my feet, and this worked very well. Overall, the hike was fun, beautiful, increased my confidence in the status of my recovery, and was brisk enough to call cross-training.

Tuesday: Merry Christmas! A white Christmas, as the snow would accumulate to 6-8 inches during the course of the day. Instead of opening presents, we took off that morning for Berthoud Falls or Butler Gulch or thereabouts, six of us and two dogs in all, where some of us snowshoed and others back-country skied. I don't know if these were foothills or actual mountains, but we started out at about 9,000 feet and kept going up through beautiful evergreen forest that was frosted with fresh snow. We kept going until we hit the tree line, whereupon we turned back due to avalanche risk. Felt great, save a little shortness of breath and really exhilarated to be out there.

Wednesday: DNR... nothing exciting to pawn off as cross-training.

Thursday: Ran out to Cobbs Creek and back down Woodland. A solid run at 8 miles in 63:50.

Friday: Paid my respects to the Lansdowne sycamore. Its been a long time since I've seen her. While bereft of leaves, the tree is as grand as ever. This was part of a loop through West/SW Philly, Lansdowne and Yeadon that I did regularly last Spring, 10+ miles in 81:34. This time is right in the range that I ran it last Spring, further boosting my confidence in the level where my running is at. I was more out of breath than I remember being for this type of run, telling me that my base needs some building, but was encouraging in telling me I am back to where I can do serious miles.

Today: All this leads me up to today, where I decided to revisit the scene of the crime... running through Tinicum for the first time since I resprained my ankle there just before the two mile marker back in October. I felt a bit uneasy doing so but felt confident, despite it having rained last night which left everything wet. I first headed around Cargo City and the airport at a pretty steady 8 minute pace and then upped the pace a bit when I hit the familiar packed gravel of Tinicum. I was more careful than usual but had no problem. At least three times I noticed my right ankle turn a bit and recover naturally, something I likely wouldn't have noticed 4 months ago but which I'm convinced didn't happen the last time I ran here, leading to my reinjury. It's all about proprioception and confidence. And I feel like I got both back. My ankle is still noticeably swollen, and I'll be patient with that, but I am very satisfied with how today's run went, and hungry to do more. A good way to close out the year. All in all, the loop was 12.5 miles, which I ran in 1:38:12 (last 5 in 38:05).

So that is what I did over Christmas vacation. I'll come up with some kind of a top 10 running moments list of 2007 in the next two days, and then I'll be looking ahead to 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Outta Here

This is the last thing I'm doing before heading out to the airport, Denver bound.

Second to last thing I did was run. 4.5 miles in 36:21. FF loop to 51st St. That was all I had time for. Drizzly cold. Felt good, no pain until now, when I feel some mild twinges.

Don't know how much internet access I'll have or how much running I'll do in the next few days, so I'll go ahead and wish everyone the best for the holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Go To Blazes

It seems like I'm blogging every other day of late.

The excuse this time around was I didn't run yesterday. In fact I did an anti-run, pigging out at USP's Christmas Party. I've been known to say that if USP did academics as well as we do food, we'd be Ivy League.

Today's run was a half-hearted little affair. I still have that not-otherwise-specified floating pain around my inner ankle that I'm trying to figure out whether or not I should be worried. I feel hobbled by my resolution to go easy. And I'm going to Denver over the Christmas holiday where it is unclear how much I'll be able to run. I can live with all that, but its hard not to say "wait till after the holidays" to my running in the same fashion I'm saying it to everything else.

So I ran out to USP, did 3 miles on the hamster wheel (22:04), and back. Ankle's no better and no worse, and my heart wasn't in the run. Had the band Go To Blazes on the iPod, they're a 90's bar band with Philly ties and an erstwhile cult following. First time I've listened to them. They weren't bad but I probably should have stuck with something more tried and true.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All Runs Come to an End

I had to remind myself of this basic truth this morning.

As that suggests, not one of my better runs. Originally planned to do 9, but it took a little longer than planned to get out of the house. So I cut my loop back to 8. Going through Penn campus down to the river, I felt a bit sluggish and my ankle was hurting. Figured I'd be prudent and cut it back to an Art Museum loop (6.5 miles).

The ankle pain continued, alternating between the ankle and the post-tibular tendon. The latter pain got my attention. I've had this kind of tendon teasing before with my achilles, kind of just on the edge of bad inflammation but not getting there. This sub-threshold pain can persist indefinitely with me, so my reaction is usually to call the bluff, and only when it definitely gets inflamed will I cut back. Yet I would also prefer things not get to that point. And this morning I was very conscious of the texture of the surfaces I was running on - the crown of the road, the dips and bumps in the asphalt, etc. and how that affected my ankle. This hyper-awareness led to an uneasiness that precluded my getting any rhythm into the run.

Then came a nervous detour (in the dark) about 100m up and then back on gravelly train tracks to get around a freight train parked in front of the Locust St. entrance to the Schuylkill trail. After that, I decided to cut the run even shorter. I ran to the Market Street steps and headed home.

The run seemed to take forever. I already mentioned the train tracks. I just couldn't find a reason for speed, and when that happens then the yellow lights turn red instead of inspiring bursts of speed to avoid stopping. This exacerbates the mood and at some point I just stopped caring about my performance.

The actual route, across the river and up Market Street, was very similar to what used to be my bread and butter run back in the day when I ran with Jeff, Tony and Marc. Back when I had my Tony in the running stroller. Truly back in the day.

A lumbering slog is the best way I can describe this run. For the finale, I turned from Locust onto 47th St. and a sharper pain flared through my ankle. I then hobbled the last four blocks home. I take some consolation in being right to intuit the need to progressively cut the distance of my run down. Now I figure I'd best retreat to the hamster wheel for the rest of my runs this week.

5.1 miles in 49:39. No wonder the run seemed to take forever. Definitely not going on my end-of-the-year top-ten list.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekend Wrapup

I really don't feel like blogging today. Seems like most of the blogs I follow are also a few days/weeks behind, so maybe its the holidays.

To recap the weekend, I got in:

6.5 miles on Saturday with Deirdre running through West Philly on this loop in 56:08.

8.3 miles today (Sunday) running around and through the airport on this loop in 70:09.

The positive to this is that I accumulated 42 miles this week, 1.5 more than last week. But the increase in weekly miles feels like a consolation, as I had hoped to get in a longer run today than I did.

My ankle really felt screwy yesterday as I plodded around big box stores and malls doing some Christmas shopping. It wasn't good pain, going from both sides of my ankle up my tendons and making my walk such that it was apparent I was feeling discomfort. The weird thing was how this pain moved around, and for some time even went to my other foot/leg. It feels like overuse, but not so intense that I feel compelled to take time off. Like a wait and see, but with some anxiety that I'll be saying later I should have laid off it.

So it wasn't a bad thing that there was nasty wind and rain all morning and into the afternoon today. But later in the afternoon the sun came out and my legs, freshened up from a day of mostly sitting and working, seemed to feel okay. It was about 4pm when I made it out, and I headed out to the airport and left the return leg open based on how far I'd feel like running.

In the end it was more caution - of the dark and of overdoing things - that limited my run to 70 minutes, rather than any foot pain. My feet and legs felt fine during the run, its post-run now that I'm warily keeping tabs on.

I'll take tomorrow off, as I have been doing for the last few weeks. I'll play it by ear after that. After writing this, it seems good that circumstances led to my keeping the run shorter. I feel on a cusp of overuse here and don't know if I crossed it. I am also thinking that I feel much better having run than were I to have taken the day off today. So I'm not feeling as whiny as I did at the start of this post.

Now all that's left is to wait and see. Till Tuesday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

2 Runs & a PT Appt

Might as well get this done too. I've been spending too much work time mapping out today and yesterday's route and then tracking biorhythm's, thanks to Reba's entry today.

Ran in the evening yesterday as part of a group of nine who got together to send Ian off to New York. It was one of those runs that can hypothetically get blogged in at least four different places (Jim and John Dubs being the other two). We scooted around Fairmount Park in typical Thursday evening fashion, perhaps intentionally since this was the last one Ian would enjoy as a Philly resident. In typical Thursday evening fashion, the testosterone started bubbling towards the end, and the last mile back to the Art Museum devolved into an all out pissing contest. Several of us surged after we went under the Girard Ave. bridge, and after about a half mile I had to pull back a bit as I couldn't hang with John and Ian. I ran that mile in 6 flat, and I dearly would have liked to go a little faster, but couldn't. At least it gives me a gauge of where I'm at fitness-wise without having to plunk down $30 to run a 5k.

Time was 56:04 in about 6.7 miles (distance out and back to the car included). Afterwards we went to Bishop's Collar for drinks. I guess that is one way running is a healthier lifestyle, in that it cut into our drinking time and probably amounted to at least a beer or two less consumed by the end of the evening. If I don't see you again before you go, Ian, don't worry, I'll definitely mooch off of you next time I go to NYC.

This morning was an easy 5+ (in 50:27) in a loop around Tinicum Township and Essington. The dark and the fog made running a bit dicey in places, and got me very concerned about my ankle's rebounding proprioceptive capacities. But everything turned out fine. The fog, as it is wont to do, made things very surreal in places as it diffused the little light that was around and rendered familiar scenes novel in its ability to hide various details. I took the run slowly, as it was still run in the same darkness as last night's effort was. I also just checked my biorhythms, and see my physical cycle is currently in the toilet.

Lastly, I went for my physical therapy appt. this morning. Jim had, innocently, asked me if my ankle was wrapped last night (it wasn't) and this got me concerned about the swelling. Maureen said that the swelling wasn't major and that it would take a long time to go down, and probably was nothing to worry about. My ankle's range of motion is just about normal again, and I mentioned that intuitively I find my ankle's balancing abilities on my run to be improving (although that doesn't keep the paranoia away on runs like this morning's). She said that was a very promising sign. She said I should take yoga, and keep my balancing exercises, and that there really wasn't a need for me to come back. I guess the last item is the most promising.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Road to Oz

Did a destination run this morning, point to point home from Reba's house along this route.

The route is a journey that starts me through tidy working class suburbs which then transform to more dilapidated inner-ring suburbs until I run through a small, wooded area, cross Cobbs Creek and find myself in the familiar confines of Southwest Philly ("Don't you know you in the ghetto!" one boy shouted at me this morning). Its a bit like going to Oz in that at some point the outlines of the alabaster (I love that word) skyscrapers of Center City appear on the horizon and get ever closer. Only instead of the yellow brick road I am resigned to running the Chester Pike, complete with strip malls and four lanes of traffic, and then Chester Ave, with its sagging rowhouses and empty storefronts.

But it is a practical run and for once I know that, literally if not metaphorically, I am going somewhere.

Weather continues mild (hi 50s) and humid, with the greys intensifying the closer I got to home. All in all, 8+ miles in 69:29. A bit slower than yesterday's comparable distance, but its all just penguin running at this point (i.e., no need for speed).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Since Joseph Asked...

Joseph inquired into more details re. my weigh-in last week. So I did it again and wrote down the numbers. This all comes from a bells-and-whistles scale that a colleague of mine has in her office, and I compare it to a reading I did at the end of July. I do this in part out of self-absorption, but also in that in doing so I'll have a record of it that someday might be useful to fall back on.


Weight - 188 lbs (vs. 180 in July)
Total Body Water - 60.7% (vs. 63.6%)
Body Fat - 8.2% (vs. 5.4%)
Fitness Rating - 9 (vs. 8; scale of 1-10)
Base Metabolism Rate 2242 calories (vs. 2213)
Lean Body Mass - 173.6 lbs (vs. 170.6)
Fat - 15.3 lbs (vs. 9.7 lbs)

[I am editing this due to some inaccuracies in the results that I have fixed as I have educated myself more on what these numbers mean. Added text will be in italics]

The big stat of course is the weight gain. Even at 6'1", 187.4 lbs puts me on the large side for a competitive runner, as Joseph points out. I've always coveted thinner runner's bodies, like that of my buddy Mike M. My BMI, which curiously is not included on the super-scale, is 24.7, which is just under the overweight threshold of 25. While I am large for a runner, noone who knows me would ever say I was close to being overweight in the conventional sense. A good illustration of the limitations of using BMI to judge being overweight.

"Ideal" body fat percentage is supposed to be 15%, according to this site. That, as Joseph points out, leaves me in pretty good shape, even with my less-than-thin body and my recent weight gain.

But what I'm more interested in is that I've gained 7 lbs in the last five months. 5.6 lbs of that gain can be attributed to fat. Given the margin of error that these measurements doubtlessly contain, this means that most if not all of my gain comes from additional fat. The other stat that interests me here is the BMR. It means that I could lay in bed all day and still eat 2200 calories without gaining any weight. This is reassuring.

Finally, does this mean I am going to change anything? I guess looking on the bright side, this weight gain and muscle loss occurred as I was injured and less active than usual. I'm assuming that as (lord willing) I get my mileage back up to my usual range I should drop some of these pounds. I also assume that some of the gain is due to the change in seasons, as my weight usually goes up a bit in the winter. Given that I'm not competing anytime soon, I don't feel any urgency to drop these pounds so I don't think I'm going to change my eating habits much. I'll do this weighing thing again sometime in January to see if there is any holiday effect on these numbers.

One thing that will likely assist in my dropping some of the pounds is the "surveillance effect." Just going through this makes me more conscious of weight issues, and means that I will be more aware of what I put in my mouth. So without trying my eating should change somewhat.

So all that ado and not much changes. A positive interpretation of the numbers, I suppose.

And, oh yeah, I ran today. Ran the Sweetbriar loop I ran last Tuesday, only today I went up to 49th St. to make it 8+ miles. It was warm enough to run in short sleeves, and I'm not driving Tony to school this week so I got to run in the morning light. Time was 64:38.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What Tom Missed

Was supposed to run with Tom this morning, but Tom's leg had other designs and he had to bail. In regret of missing his company, this blog entry will describe what Tom missed.

He didn't miss anything memorable, but nonetheless it was a solid run. Deirdre made it out west, and the two of us set off on an extended Acme loop which incorporated MLK Drive and the west of Strawberry Mansion Bridge hill. Cloudy and cool, on the verge of rain. I was happy to have an extended run in natural daylight, and we were both yapping away through most of the run as we had a lot to catch up on. That meant the miles went by quickly. They did not go by easily, however, as from miles 3 to about 10 was more or less constant up or downhill. My ankle was not liking this, and gave notice about the time we got to Wynnefield. I even expressed to Deirdre that this may end up being a long slog home, but the ankle settled down, after which my legs just felt generally weary. This run was right at the limits of my fitness right now.

The loop is here. Click on the elevation link and you can see the hilliness of the course. Good course to have in the repertoire, but I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon. All in all it was 13 miles in 1:41:09.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Working Off My Fitness

Ran 3.5 miles this morning between sleeping in and getting my daughter off to her Saturday morning writing class. My legs felt weary and clearly communicated to me that today should be an easy day. So it all fit and I ran a Franklin Field loop. 3.5 miles in 33:16.

But my best running moment of the day came later, when me, Ryan, Jmac, John Dubs, and Steve G went to Philly's finest - the Fountain Restaurant - to consummate the free lunch we won at last year's Parkway Run 5k. Considering that I was on crutches watching the race, I can't say I contributed anything to the team victory. But I had no guilt horning in on what is absolutely the best schwag in Philadelphia. I had a Renoir-themed set of three courses - rabbit pate with figs, swordfish, and a chocolate moussy type of pastry. All washed down with single malt scotch, wine and coffee.

That is the reason I run.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Supersized Me

Still too icy to run this morning, had lunch plans this afternoon, so I had to get my run in this evening. So everyone else goes off to happy hour and I head to the hamster wheel. Everything was quiet and uneventful on the run, 1 mile out and back and 5 miles on the wheel in 34 flat.

Some self-absorbed body data that I can write here 'cause its my blog. First datum: I was teaching last night and at the mid-class break one of my students comes up to me and asks if I'm still wearing an ankle brace. I say no and she says its huge. I look and I guess there is still a good bit of swelling on it. But its very runnable.

Second datum. I weighed myself this morning. Last time I weighed myself was July 31. I weighed 179. Today I weigh 188. Not only that, but Karen, who's on the Health Sciences faculty, has some newfangled scale that told me that out of those 9 extra lbs., 6 of them were fat. But, paradoxically, my "fitness rating" (whatever that is), which was an 8 (out of 10) in July, is now a 9.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Drip Dry and Other Random Stuff

Got a dusting of snow last night, so I passed on running the streets this morning for the lack of traction. Since I'm taking Tony to school, this means I rejuggled things and hit the hamster wheel just before going in to work.

For several reasons this was a good day to make an easy day. It was also a good sign at how I resisted this. I had Spoon's most recent cd, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, on the iPod. At first my running and the music were out of sync, but as I got warmed up the music matched my stride better, and I was in a groove by the time the fourth song, "Don't You Evah," cued up. After that I felt I could run forever, and had to talk myself down by reminding me that it was an easy day.

And then at mile 3.25 the treadmill abruptly stopped again. Now, slay a treadmill once and I feel pretty good about myself. If this keeps up, however, I start losing respect for the treadmill and demand a better adversary. Staff claims they had a repair guy out who couldn't find anything wrong with the machine. I said he needs to look harder.

So I changed machines, but that messed up my rhythm. Speaking of rhythm, the NY Times has an article in this morning's paper by its health writer, Gina Kolata (gotta love that name), on getting in "the zone" while running. Interesting and worth checking out.

Then I did pull-ups. Just telling the folks I was running with last Saturday how pull-ups have always been my nemesis. Everytime after I run the hamster wheel I go to the weight room and do some reps. At first I was pleased to get one rep per set. This morning I did 3 sets of 3 reps. That feels good, I can see progress.

My time at the gym took about a half hour longer than I planned as I ran into several colleagues and chatted awhile. As a result, I found out one guy, Kamal, with whom I occasionally talk running, will also be up for tenure next year, and I also got roped into serving on a committee by another colleague, Mike. Networking.

And finally I had to drip dry this morning. USP used to provide towels but stopped that last Spring, citing MRSA concerns. I always thought it was a convenient excuse for discontinuing the towel service (and still have my suspicions) but it appears forward thinking on their part. But that means I have to bring my own towel with me and I forgot today.

4 miles, something under 30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Little Colder, a Little Darker, and a Little Longer

Todays title follows up from a thought from yesterday.

I poked around a bit on Weather Underground and found out two things:

1) Todays temperature at 7 am was 27 degrees, compared to 32 degrees yesterday.

2) Today's sunrise came at 7:06; compared to 7:05 yesterday.

It definitely felt colder today (albeit not as windy). I was surprised that the difference in daylight in the morning was only one minute. But the days are still getting shorter, and I don't like that from a psychological vantage point. I also learned that while the actual sunrise was at 7:06, the "civil twilight" was a half hour earlier, at 6:36. This seems to be the official name for the false dawn, when it starts to get light out. This also corresponded with when I noticed it just start to get light out.

So I learned something today.

That takes care of the darker and colder. I woke up 15 minutes earlier this morning, but got out of the house 4 minutes later than yesterday. I still stretched out this morning's route to take it down MLK Drive a bit and circle around through West Philly. This is a bread and butter 8 mile loop for me but when I gmapped it this morning it only came out to be 7.7 miles. So it looks like there has been some shrinkage going on. I'll have to take it out to 49th St. from now on.

Run itself went fine. Total time for the 7.7 miles was 63:33. Timed the marked MLK mile at 7:45. About where I want to be.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On a December Morning Looking to April

I drove Tony to school this morning. This will be a big change in the morning routine. This morning we had the rare treat of getting everything together early and having a few minutes to spare. So we went to the WaWa. I got a coffee and a muffin, he got a donut. Whenever I get coffee at WaWa its the Kenyan blend. Most folks reading this will understand why, Tony didn't. So I explained it to him this morning. Little rites of passage.

When I was running across the South Street bridge, the thought came to me that the road to Boston is cold, long and dark. Got out at 5:45 and it was still dark at 6:40 when I got back to my front porch. It was at this point that I got the corollary to the aforementioned thought - the road will get darker (it ain't even Winter yet), it will get colder (temps were in the low 30's), and it will get longer (I did an extended Art Museum loop that gave me 6.5 miles for the morning, I will want more miles on future mornings, meaning that I will have to get up even earlier).

I left those thoughts dangling. No need for answers today, they will come one way or the other. Took my fears out with me this morning again, and became aware of them at various places throughout the run. One of these moments was when my right foot landed on a stick, somewhat turning my right ankle - mildly enough so I could react and correct, but it still sent a twinge through my ankle that went all the way up to my heart. Hopefully each time I run a couple of those fears will get left behind. And, I can confidently say, my ankle is healed enough so that I can go out and train again. But the buildup will continue gradually.

AM loop to 48th St., 6.5 miles in 56:04.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gonna Be a Long Walk Home

Today was supposed to be an easy day. I felt sore (in a good way) from yesterday's jaunt.

But I got out of the house this morning and I was rarin' to tear it up. Like doing fives on the Drives kind of tear it up.

Maybe it was the Springsteen on my iPod.

Or the talk of Boston.

Or running up the BN.

Or too much staring at the picture of my holding off Bob Rimkis that has been my computer wallpaper for a few weeks.

Or the frustration of only running 75 miles last month.

Or, like a little poodle barking furiously at a Rottweiler from behind a fence, I wanted to tear it up because I knew, with time and weather constraints today, that I couldn't.

But whatever it was, I took it out on the treadmill. Ran down to USP and ran a hard 5 (in 33:44) and ran back. I didn't even know my ankle existed until about 2 miles in, and a little after that my left calf tried to distract me from it by cramping up. I kept running, getting it down to 6:30 pace before I forbid myself to take it down any faster. My head had two thoughts about Boston - how I had it in me to hammer that course and how it would feel like redemption.

I just felt intense today. Its good to have that feeling back. 6 miles total.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday in the Park

Ian emailed yesterday and asked if I was up for a run this morning. He is moving to NYC in a few weeks, meaning my opportunities to run with him promise to become more limited, so I made it out to the Art Museum and met up with him, Steve Kollar (who I haven't seen in awhile), and Devon (late of an enigmatic Philly marathon).

I'll miss these runs. Ian's been a good friend and sometime rival, and some of my most memorable running experiences have included him. The temptation is great to eulogize him here, but I won't. I prefer not to think of it as losing a running buddy but as gaining a place to stay in NYC.

We ran a BN loop, complete with the requisite nipple jokes. This may be his last nipple. And Ian was my first. Devon forsook the BN part and veered right to Kelly Drive, and we remaining three chugged up it. Not too pretty, as I'm running gimpy, Ian is coming off a PR NYC marathon, and Kollar's running has been hampered by life. Suited all of us fine.

I love these runs through Fairmount Park in the fall flanked by a good posse. I've been fortunate to have such company and such places to run. It feels like I'll have this forever, today reminds me that maybe I won't.

But I'll enjoy it while it lasts. That's what today's run was about. Ankle cooperated, to the point where I now feel comfortable that I can take on double digit mileage. With that, the weekly mileage will come, as will the speed. Every day brings more progress.

Thus, part flush with the success of this run, part from not wanting it to end, Kollar, Ian and I talked of all signing up for Boston. Reba was talking yesterday of how ratty my '02 windbreaker is getting. Perhaps its time to again make the pilgrimage this Spring.

10+ miles in 82:41.